Gulf War II is upon us. President Bush the son is wrapping up the unfinished business of 1991’s Gulf War I, concluding a war that President Bush the father had originally fought. In a similar way during the 20th century, World War II was a continuation of World War I, even though 21 years of false peace separated the two campaigns. Today a 12 year gap stands between Gulf Wars I and II.
One prophetic voice has said that both Gulf Wars are actually smaller battles in the initial stages of World War III, and that the opening shot of this greater war was triggered by Egyptian President Sadat’s assassination on October 6 1981. It is worth considering that Osama Bin Laden’s current right hand man, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, was once actively involved in Sadat’s assassination.
The geographical context of Gulf War II is of near-biblical proportions. America is facing off against Iraq, the territory and heartland of ancient Babylon. In light of the many end-time scriptures regarding Babylon’s last days role, we should stop and wonder: Can the territory of ancient Babylon be so quickly overcome, so easily conquered and subdued? There really are primeval forces at work in the territories of Iraq and Iran (Babylon and Persia) and they have been plotting evil for mankind in general (and for Israel in particular) from the time of the Garden of Eden (Gen.2:8-14; 3:1), through Daniel the Prophet’s generation (the demonic princes and principalities of Babylon and Persia Dan.7:1-5, 17:10:20-21) and also into our day (Rev.12; 16:12-18:24).
God’s Prophetic Calendar
The God of Israel moves in mysterious ways. He has an instantly recognizable signature. He habitually leaves clues at the scene which link Him to history’s major events.Often the divine tip-off is connected to the Jewish feasts of the Hebrew calendar. The Bible says that the Jewish feasts are first and foremost God’s own feasts. Their calendar is especially His own: “YHVH’s appointed feasts … My appointed feasts, are these” (Lev.23:2). There are modern prophetic examples of how God continues to use significant Jewish feasts and solemn days in world events. Two brief examples of thesewould include the Day of Atonement (the 1973 Yom Kippur War, as well as the Shepherd’s Rod visitations and teachings given yearly on that day) and the Jewish Tisha b’Av fast (the 9th of Ab, referred to in the Basilisk teaching, and www.bobjones.org/articles/Basilisk%202002.htm for a list of historical events connected with this tragic day).
The current Jewish feast at the matrix of world attention is Purim, the Feast of Esther, described in the Book of Esther (Est.9:20-32). The feast celebrates how God thwarted a satanic attempt to wipe out the Jewish people which arose out of ancient Persia (present day Iran). Throughout history Satan has tried to destroy the Jewish people in many different ways, sometimes using superpowers and at other times using Israel’s unfriendly neighbors. A partial list would include: Egypt (infanticide), Moab (sexual immorality and demonic worship), Assyria (forced population exchange), Babylon (exile), Edom (claiming the land of Israel for the Arabs), Persia (genocide), Greece (forced assimilation, religious persecution and murder), Rome (the attemptto steal the Jewish people’s spiritual inheritance through replacement theology), Nazi Germany (persecution and mass murder) and Radical Islam (worldwide military jihad war against Israel, as well as claiming both the spiritual and physical land promises through double replacement theology).
Purim and Prophecy
Purim means ‘lots’, the modern equivalent of dice (the singular word is ‘pur’). Lots were thrown by Haman in Esther 3:7-9 to determine the most auspicious day for the Persian Holocaust, the planned annihilation of the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God overturned the day which had been chosen by demonic lottery, and Purim instead became the day when Israel plundered their mortal enemies (Est.9:1-26) according to Gen.12:3b , “He who scorns/makes light of you, him I will curse!”. Purim became a day for rejoicing in the God of Jacob who preserves His prophetic Jewish nation from rapacious tyrants and evil men (Psa.105:8-15). The Bible establishes it as a perpetual holiday for the Jewish people (Esther 9).
So the irony was appreciated by the entire nation of Israel when Gulf War I ended on the Feast of Purim 1991. Little Jewish children exchanged their gas masks for carnival masks and Purim party costumes, while Israeli adults wondered at how Saddam was forced to surrender on the same day that Haman’s forces were decisively defeated.
At the close of 1991 I and my wife Rachel described those events in a newsletter: “The cease-fire went into effect on Purim (the Feast of Esther), the Jewish holiday associated with the destruction of one of Israel’s many Middle Eastern enemies . . . It is Rachel’s and my feeling that what happened during this war is only the opening shot of what will be an extended struggle, and that not everyone will get off as easily in times soon to come.”
Our feeling 12 years ago was that the Gulf War was part one of an extended campaign, and that ‘Gulf War Part Two’ would eventually be upon us. We also felt that the Gulf War (‘Desert Storm’ as it was then called) would be preparing the world for another yet future campaign (call it ‘Desert Jew’, if you like) where all the nations of the world will arise to come against the State of Israel and the Jewish people (see Zech.14:1-2)
It is deeply significant that President George W. Bush’s public declaration of upcoming war with Iraq (Gulf War II) is being made on the Feast of Purim 2003 12 years to the day on the Hebrew calendar from when Gulf War I abruptly stopped.The world has entered the second installment of a ‘war in two phases’. As Avi Pazner (former Israeli Ambassador to France and Germany) stated yesterday morning on Israel Army Radio, “Ha-pur nafal!” (‘The lot has been cast!”).
A Prophetic Warning
On January 17 1991, the second night of Gulf War I, Israelis went to bed still amazed at the TV images of the massive allied bombardment of Baghdad. That same night at 3:52 am we were all awakened by the sickening, baying howl of air raid sirens announcing that Saddam’s scuds were falling on Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Last month, exactly twelve years later (January 17 2003) on the eve of the Sabbath, I had lain down for a light nap. At 4:30 pm I was jarred awake by the unmistakable howl of two loud air raid sirens, one right after the other, going off just outside my room. Somehow it seemed that I heard them shaking the ground and reverberating across all of Israel. My pulse was racing. “So! The war has begun!” I said quietly.
I immediately switched on the radio to listen for military instructions. Nothing! I jumped off the bed, opened the bedroom door and saw two of my sons intently focused on a computer game. “Did you hear that?” I asked. “Hear what?!” they said. “We heard nothing!” I ran downstairs to the TV and flipped back and forth between the main Israeli channels nothing! I asked Rachel if she had heard anything nothing! Then I realized what had just occurred. A prophetic warning had come war would soon be upon us. In retrospect I realize that the Lord chose the twelfth anniversary of Iraq’s scud attacks on Israel in Gulf War I to highlight the fact that Gulf War II was about to begin. To repeat the emphasis: it is prophetically significant that President’s Bush’s declaration of war has occurred twelve years later, on the same day the previous war left off.
A Wake-Up Call for Diapora Jews
Purim presents some serious parallels and sobering historical lessons for Jewish people living in the Diaspora, the Jewish nation scattered across the face of the globe. Thoughtful men and women should take these implications to heart as the drums of war begin to sound.
In Haman’s time the Jewish nation was living peacefully and in relative comfort throughout the Persian Empire. Some had found a home in Northern Iraq (ancient Assyria), others in central Iraq (ancient Babylon), while others had relocated to Iran (ancient Persia). Though the prophets had pleaded with Israel to return, most Jewish people were content to live in the lap of the world’s superpowers. But with Haman’s sudden murderous plot, the entire Jewish people’s physical survival was threatened.
Today less than º of all Jews live in the State of Israel. Most Jewish people are content to remain in their host countries. Yet Gulf War II may yet trigger a wave of anti-Semitism that will force Jewish people out of their Diaspora comfort zone and back to the land promised to them through their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Please pray that God will speak powerfully to His scattered Jewish people at this time, and call them back to the land and back to Yeshua Son of David our Messiah, Savior and Atonement!
Hidden God, Uncertain Outcome
The writer of the Book of Esther tries his best to avoid mentioning the name of God. In doing this, he is showing his readers that even when God seems to be hiding His face (‘hester panim’ in Hebrew, a word play on the Hebrew name Esther), He is not sleeping or slumbering. He really is continually watching over His precious dove, the Jewish people (Psa.74:19; Psa.121) to protect them, preserve them and bring them back both to the land of Israel and to Himself.
In the Book of Esther the fate of the Jewish people seemed to turn on something capricious the ‘purim’, the lot, the ‘toss of the dice’. So today there is a chancy aspect regarding the outcome of Gulf War II especially in regard to Israel. Neither Israel, America nor Britain have nationally or officially sought God’s face with a spirit of repentance. It does not seem that, in preparation for this war, any of these nations has sought shelter under the wings of the God of Israel. Granted that Saddam is an evil tyrant, a cold-blooded butcher and a world threat. But believers need to ask if the Captain of YHVH’s angelic armies is sallying forth with the allied forces especially when public announcements of plans to partition the land of Israel are falling from the lips of top allied leaders with increasing frequency?
Please pray for protection and repentance to come upon the armies and military leaders involved that they may seek God’s face and mercy before the battle begins, as well as in the thick of the fighting! Pray for the saving of many lives and the salvation of many soldiers and civilians on all sides of the conflict.
The Prince of Persia on the Move
It is worth noting that there is a Persian element lurking behind the present conflict with Iraq/Babylon. Gulf War II begins/continues on Purim, a holiday which the Bible connects with ancient Persia. Iran (ancient Persia) is also one of the countries presently listed by the USA as being part of an ‘axis of evil’ (the others are Iraq and North Korea). These countries all support world terrorism and are developing and /or proliferating atomic, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction. As well, Iran is the main supporter, financier and equipper of the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah which has hundreds of Katyusha rockets aimed at northern and central Israel. Iran and Syria also have close military and intelligence contacts and cooperation. Israel has declared that Iran’s nuclear bomb program is the next existential threat for the Jewish state.
Shaking the Unshakable
There are unforeseen spin-offs in this developing conflict, for this war involves more than first meets the eye. Evil spiritual forces are taking advantage of the upcoming clash to shake what once were solid alliances in the West. While Russia was never able to crack NATO throughout its 56 years of existence, Saddam Hussein (the present lord of Babylon) has managed to drive a wedge between the US and UK on one hand, and Germany and France on the other. Major rumblings and political realignments are occurring, with some European nations waiting hyena-like for America the ‘Lion King’ to make a false step. Europe is rising to the fore as an up-and-coming superpower. These developments may be paving the way for the last days political power blocks described in the Books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelation.
Another surprise is Turkey, which has stymied, frustrated and blocked US war plans to date. In light of the significant role that a Turkic belt of nations will play in the prophesied War of Gog and Magog (Ezek.38-39), it bears noting that Turkey is once again ‘stepping up to the plate’ having an influential role in world events.
One last thought to consider. If and when weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will be used by Saddam in this war, there will no longer be an international debate over whether or not he has developed and stored these weapons. Inspectors will no longer have a role to play in settling this discussion. But it seems that even the use of WMD will not cause world powers to reconcile and return to former alliances. Something decisive has changed in world politics, and not for the better.
“Peace in Our Time”?
It has been said that God offends the mind to reveal the heart. The upcoming war is revealing the thoughts of many hearts, specifically vis-à-vis the land and people of Israel. Though Germany, France, Spain, Britain and the USA do not agree on much right now, they all concur that pressure must be applied on Israel as soon as possible both to divide the land of Israel and to form a Palestinian state on a good part of it. British PM Tony Blair has declared that the only way the West can prove itself evenhanded in the Arab and Islamic world is by pushing for a division of the land of Israel between Israel and a Palestinian state. President Bush and Secretary of State Powell have also clearly stated that dividing the land of Israel and establishing a Palestinian is next on the agenda after Gulf War II. They hope for the process to be completed by 2005.
The Hebrew prophets prophesy judgment on any nation that sets its hand to divide the land of Israel (Zech.2:8-13; 14:1-4; Joel 3:1-2 etc).
But there are other reasons why pushing for a division of the land will activate the divine curse. The Islamic and Arab world has for the most part not recognized the valid existence of the Jewish state. Instead it has attempted to destroy Israel time and again for over 50 years. Thank God that their efforts have continually failed. Today, however, most international forums no longer see these attempts for what they are. Israeli attempts to thwart and eliminate Arab and Islamic attacks are reinterpreted as state terrorism, and Arab terrorist aggression is considered more justified and understandable that Israeli defense of her own homeland.
What the UN, the EU and the USA are all advocating is something called appeasement. Just prior to WWII Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain attempted to appease Hitler at the Munich Conference of 1938. He mistakenly believed that Hitler’s demands were moderate and should be met. After signing a ‘peace agreement’ with Nazi Germany, he stood in front of Number 10 Downing Street in London on September 30 and declared, “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace in our time!”
Chamberlain was wrong. His miscalculation led to WWII and his phrase ‘peace in our time’ has become a byword for willfully criminal political blindness. Today the international community has concluded that appeasing the Arab and Muslim world will bring Middle East peace, and has decided to break off pieces of Israel like dog biscuits and feed them to an enflamed and enraged Islamic world. Israel is cast in the role of the planned sacrifice that will soon be offered on the altar of world peace.
With that in mind, it is chilling to consider the headline in Melbourne Australia’s The Advertiser newspaper on Feb 15 2003, describing an anti-Bush and anti-Israel demonstration: 120,000 rally for peace in our time by Jane Metklikovec, Jeff Turner and Rachel Hancock. www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/printpage/0,5942,5986711,00.html
Of course, tiny Israel may decide that it does not want to be the international fall guy. In Bob Dylan’s words, the State of Israel may not agree that it’s “supposed to lay down and die when its door is kicked in” (from ‘Neighborhood Bully’, Infidels © 1983; www.bobdylan.com/songs/bully.html).
At that point the world will probably decide that Israel is not only an obstacle to Middle East peace, but an obstacle to world peace as well! These major international wars in our day are ultimately leading to a very focused future war against Israel. The eventual two-pronged strategy of that coming anti-Semitic campaign will involve partitioning the land of Israel, and attempting to annihilate the Jewish people. “For behold, Your enemies make an uproar and those who hate You have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Your people and conspire together against Your treasured ones. They have said, ‘Come and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more!’” (Psa.83:2-4).
Shades of Haman! As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again!” But the God of Jacob will triumph in that day, for He is our strong tower! (Psa.46:11)
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